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Practice Your Thai

Scarlet's Blog

...All Remaining Passengers...

Practice Your Thai

A little bit of a local language does go a long way. I’ve never had anything but encouragement when trying out my please and thank you’s in a variety of  Asian languages – the shy smiles and an occasional chuckle are well worth the attempt. Contact with non-english speaking locals happens outside the comfort zone of your hotel – in markets or  coffee houses, a taxi or restaurant. Learning how to order a coffee without sugar becomes vital for me by the  second morning, and a simple greeting will greatly enhance bargaining skills in the local night  market. 

I try to add a few more words or phrases each trip, and while I won’t ever become fluent I do enjoy my  linguistic interactions. One final confession – I  keep a good translator app on my phone for those occasions when a little more help is needed! 

Hello – Sawadee kaa/krup (the endings change depending on the gender of the  speaker – I’ve put the female form first)

With sugar – sai nam taan

No sugar – mai sai nam taan

Thank you – Khop khun kaa/krup yes – kaa/krup 

No – mai 

No worries/nevermind  – mai pen rai

I don’t understand – mai kao jai

Do you understand? – Jai mai?

Restroom – hong nam 

Where is the rest room? Hong nam you  tee nah kaa/krup? 

Slow down – cha cha 

Delicious – arroy 

The bill please – Gep taang kaa/krup

Very expensive – paeng maak

Do you have a name card? – Nam baht mai?

What is this?  – Nee arai? 

How much? – Nee tao-rai kaa/krup 

How are you? Sabai dee mai? 

Fine thanks – Sabai dee kaa/krup 

Please use the meter (for taxi) – bai meter mai? 

Three Cities: Singapore, Saigon and Bangkok

Scarlet's Blog

...All Remaining Passengers...

Three Cities

Singapore, Saigon & Bangkok


On my first visit to the city state I was, like most visitors, struck by how tidy it is compared to other asian  cities. There is a restriction on bringing chewing gum through customs (personal consumption only), and  durian fruit is forbidden on the subway system. While the city has its share of towering office blocks, it has  managed to keep a fair number of the older style homes and buildings and is know for an abundance of  parks and green spaces. Raffles was on my list and I wasn’t disappointed. This gorgeous colonial era  hotel with it’s writer’s suites overlooking the inner garden and famous bar are now a must on every visit.  Still on my bucket list is the new terminal at Chiangi Airport. Normally airports are just a necessary step on  the way to somewhere interesting, but this new addition is, by all accounts, spectacular. Inside the glass  dome are hiking trails, waterfalls, gardens full of plants from around the world and sky-high canopy  bridges. 


A fairly new city for me – and it teems with life. As with most of the Asian cities I visit,  the street life runs late into night with a  bewildering array of goods and food for  sale. Traffic is an interesting jumble with a  solid stream of motorcycles and scooters  packing the roads. There seem to be no  visible rules or rights of way but they make  it work. The french colonial influence is  still visible in both the architecture and the  deliciously strong coffee and flakey pas tries.Vietnam is really beginning to open up  

to commerce with the rest of the world and to encourage their tourism industry. I was lucky enough to be  invited to a local water-puppet theatre – a fantastic production where the puppet masters are waist deep in  water behind a curtain, and their puppets dance atop the water on long rods.


This city has always held a fascination for me. Even though many travellers find it terrifyingly large and  impersonal – a massive, sprawling concrete jungle appears as you come in from the airport – I really enjoy  this city. Golden temples appear around almost every corner, night markets spring up as soon as the of fice block close for the day, and … the food is amazing! Since traffic can come to a standstill at peak  times I have become familiar with both the metro and LRT – very clean and quick, as well as the joy that is  the River. The Chao Phraya and adjoining waterways are a great way to travel through the city. It costs  pennies and affords the most spectacular views of palaces and temples as well as a glimpse of daily life  by the river. 

On Your Way and Underway

Scarlet's Blog

...All Remaining Passengers...

On Your Way and Underway

Whether you are taking your first trip overseas…or you’ve stopped counting, there is always new and  updated information to be digested before and during a trip. Better packing tips, funky new coffee shops,  air-con blessed guest houses and sudden bed-bug infestations to avoid – the information is constantly  changing.  

Part of the enjoyment of travel, for me at least, comes from following up on tips, and searching out new  and wonderful places to visit. Golden temples, artisan markets, fascinating street vendors and tantalizing  glimpses of day to day life through gates and over garden walls – all of these fascinate me. 

My advice for new travellers – sometimes you just have to go with it. Don’t be afraid to veer off course.  Keep a little room in your schedule for the unexpected detour – it may turn out to be the highlight of your trip. A chance conversation with a fellow traveller or an article in the local english language paper may send you off to see  or do something that becomes a favourite  memory long after you return home. 

While business is the reason for most of  my travel I still try to allow time to  experience the places I visit. The people,  their culture, customs… and food – these  are the things that enrich a trip.  The photos you take and the stories you  collect become your memories of a  country, its heritage and its people.